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footwear

Fashion, Life & Style

Ethical Wellies Guide

ethical welly boots

I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of ethical wellies lately.  After daily wear all through the winter, walking over 3 miles each day, my old trusty pair of wellies has come a cropper.  They’ve sadly developed an un-mendable hole in the heel that’s letting in water.  Even the wonder that is Sugru isn’t even saving them.

My old pair weren’t especially ethical, but I did get A LOT of wear out of them.  Whilst a part of me is tempted to buy a pair from the same shop, a bigger part of me wants a new pair of wellies with ethical credentials.  The trouble is ethical wellies are extremely thin on the ground.

ethical welly boots

What’s Wrong With Standard Welly Boots?

Wellies themselves are not particularly eco-friendly.  Making wellies is not an easy process.  And making wellies out of eco-friendly materials seems to be even harder.  I have found some boots made mostly from natural rubber from renewable resources.  However,  manufacturers seem to have to use other non-renewable materials in the making of them.

These mixed materials in turn leads to another problem.  Because of the mixed materials that go into making wellies, this means at the end of their life the boots can’t be recycled.  I, therefore, can’t class wellies as eco-friendly.  If you are here looking for eco-friendly welly boots then I’m afraid you are going to be disappointed that there isn’t such an item in existence.  Remember, don’t shoot the messenger.

The dilemma is when you need 100% waterproof boots.  I live in a more rural part of Scotland and find wellies a necessity.  I have had to compromise.  Instead, I have decided to buy a pair of more ethically produced wellies (i.e sweatshop free).  I’ll then look after them/repair them where possible so that they will last as long as possible.

Are Hunters Boots Ethical?

My first thought was Hunters as I know that they’re as Scottish as they come.  Or rather, they were as Scottish as they come.  After a bit of research, I found that the company was sold to an American buyer in 2006.  The new owners relocated their production of welly boots from Scotland to China in 2008. 

Since then quite a few people have said the quality of the boots has declined dramatically.  To the point where the boots are developing holes within a year. What’s more, Ethical Consumer ranks them rather low in terms of ethics.

I have, however, managed to find a small handful of EU-based ethical companies.  These boots will be less likely to be made in a sweatshop under hazardous working conditions.

Guide to Ethical Wellies

As I’ve done quite a bit of research for myself, I thought I’d share my finds in case anyone else needs to compromise, and requires a pair of ethical wellies.  I know we’re coming into summer, so hopefully, wellies season is behind us for at least a little while.  In Scotland, you just never can tell though, and you know what Billy says about wellies!

Aigle

ethical wellies

Aigle is one brand to look at for welly boots, as some Aigle wellies are handmade in France using natural rubber, which makes for a more sustainable welly boot.  However, as I mentioned before, the entire boot is not made from 100% natural rubber, so cannot be recycled at the end of their life. 

Please also note that not all Aigle wellies are made in France.  This page highlights Aigle’s current range that is made in France (currently over 80 styles). Others seem to be made in China, so if being made more locally is important to you make sure you shop the Made in France range.

The good news is if plain wellies aren’t for you, then Aigle does have quite the collection of stylish prints and styles.

Gumleaf

welly boots

Gumleaf Wellies are handmade in Europe, although there’s no mention of the exact location. Their boots are made using over 75% rubber, so fewer fossil fuels go into their production compared to a pair made from synthetic rubber.  They do also look pretty practical and sturdy and could withstand the muddiest of puddles!  

Lakeland

I have lost count of the number of Moral Fibres readers that have recommended Lakeland* to me as a great source for ethical wellies, so it’s high time I updated this post to reflect these recommendations. Why do so many readers love Lakeland? Their boots are made from FSC certified natural rubber and lined with organic cotton. They’re not made in the UK, but they are ethically made in Sri Lanka.

As you can see, it’s slim pickings.  And the hunt for wellies is definitely full of compromise.  However, if you ever come across any other more ethical wellies out there then do let me know.  I will also keep checking for more brands and will update this post if I find any more boots that fit the bill.  This post is updated for 2021, so it’s currently up to date!

In the meantime, do check out my guide to both women’s ethical clothing and men’s ethical clothing.

Fashion, Life & Style

Ethically Made Women’s Vegan Shoes

womens vegan shoes

On the lookout for ethically-made women’s vegan shoes? Put your best foot forward with my top UK finds, featuring brands such as Veja and Novesta.

I’ve spoken before about the ethical dilemma of leather vs. non-leather and six months on I’ll still not entirely sure what the answer is.  Personally, as a vegetarian, I’m happy to wear vintage or secondhand leather or new vegetable-tanned leather. Equally, I understand that not everyone is happy wearing leather.

If you’re not happy wearing animal-based products then I’ve been on the lookout for some stylish women’s vegan shoes that are ethically made.  I think I’ve done alright – I’ve found a selection for most occasions that I think you’ll love:

The Ethically Made Women’s Vegan Shoes Brands

vegan shoes

Here are some lovely women’s vegan shoes, from the top:

Beyond Skin

I’m a little bit in love with these teal Oxford-style vegan heels from Beyond Skin (£71).  Alas, they only have them left in small sizes otherwise I’d have these in a heartbeat….

Boheme

These ethical tan brogues (£87) from Boheme are so pretty.  I do like a good pair of brogues, they make wonderful shoes for autumn.

Ethletic

Ethletic footwear is proud to offer an ethical alternative to leather trainers. Their vegan trainers are made with organic and Fairtrade certified cotton, the rubber soles are FSC certified and sourced responsibly, and the rubber is fairly traded. Seeking to tick every ethical box for footwear, Ethletic is a fair-trade company, with the environment and sustainability at the core of what they do.

In addition, the pioneering Fairtrade rubber project pays a Fairtrade social premium for every kilo of rubber used in the production of these trainers. The rubber tappers then decide how to use their income to improve their living and working conditions. Almost every material used is fair trade and ecologically certified so you can wear these shoes with a clean conscience.

Find them on sale in the UK at Ethical Superstore*, from £54.

Good News

Good News signature low-top vegan trainers are sustainably made from organic and recycled materials.

The uppers are made from bio-degradable natural oatmeal organic cotton sourced. Meanwhile, the organic cotton laces are threaded through recycled metal eyelets. And what’s more, the soles are made from recycled material – a mix of car tyres and old rubber shoes!

Find them at Young British Designers* for £80. Use exclusive discount code MORAL10 for 10% off at Young British Designers. Please note this code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.

Novesta

Novesta’s vegan trainers are made with a cotton upper and a natural rubber sole. What’s more, they are made in Slovakia, given them a lower carbon footprint. Find them on sale in the UK at Toast for £55.

Toms

Good old TOMS UK* has some funky women’s vegan shoes in stock.  I love this zebra print pair (£39.99) – they’d look great with skinny jeans.

Veja

VEJA is not a completely vegan footwear brand, however, they do have many vegan shoe options in their collections, making it well worth a look in your hunt for ethical and vegan shoes.

This organic, fair trade, and ethical brand uses eco-conscious fabrics such as recycled and organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles, and sustainably harvested wild rubber to make their shoes. What’s more, workers are paid a fair price. Find them for sale in the UK at Working Class Heroes.

Which vegan shoes are your favourite?